The opportunity to relocate out of state is probably one of my biggest accomplishments of 2018. Out of state ventures present a chance to essentially “start over”: new home (HGTV time!), foster more friendships and a time for exploration and adventure. For me, taking a step outside my home state gives me the chance to start this adulting thing with full force and establish my own roots throughout the world. However, these roots can’t grow without a place to lay my head. Finding the perfect apartment in the perfect location is seemingly fun and easy: walking into different complexes, taking hundreds of photos and viewing the surrounding area. That would be ideal. For me, the hunt was done virtual and through phone calls. No, I haven’t physically seen my apartment yet but I think the virtual aspect made my search even better – here’s why:
- The Important Questions: Regardless of how you go about your apartment hunt, you must ask a set of important questions to yourself and the leasing office. When going the virtual route, it was easy sticking to my self-imposed rules stemming from those questions. What is my budget? How far away from work do I want to be? Studio or one bedroom? The beautiful think about the internet is the fact that you can filter. Apartments.com specifically kept out anything that did not fit my personal goals meaning there was no way I’d conveniently go over-budget. Even better, when you’re speaking over the phone, more questions tend to get asked versus when your starry-eyed inside the apartment of your dreams – in that moment, you want the keys then and there! But asking the right questions got me additional discounts and information that I might otherwise have missed out on.
- The Comparisons: If you’re anything like me, I have too many bookmarks and multiple tabs open at all times. However, this comes in handy when you want a clear side-by-side of your faves. Don’t just limit this trick to a virtual apartment, or even solely to apartments! Clear differences stick out from amenities to square footage which can make a case for your impending decisions. The fact that this is a virtual hunt means comparisons can make or break the search and make you rethink what’s truly important to your new lifestyle.
- *Ring, Ring*: Make those calls to leasing offices, apartment locating services and any contacts that could potentially aid in your search. Calling leasing offices is what helped me to secure a discount that was targeted towards those who visit the complex. After stating that I was out of state, I was waived the same fees and employer discounts. Now, I have to be honest, this tip definitely is from my mother’s teachings. Talk to people, make conversation and ask questions – it’s human nature and just plain nice. The art of conversation is so lost that when it takes place, people end up being much nicer and more giving than you would think! In addition to those calls, find out if your city has apartment locating services. These services are typically free and they will go on visits to your desired locations with the clause of listing them as a recommender on your apartment application. And last, but certainly not least, use your network! Call your alumni association, sorority and family members because with only six degrees of separation, you never know who you don’t know if you’re new area.
- Mind Processing: I’m definitely not an impulsive person, but I am aware that when you see something that just feels like you, the internal pressure to purchase grows by 1000% (not kidding!). Going through the apartment search virtually gave me the chance to truly process each complex, the location, amenities and the living arrangements that would make me happy. I allowed myself time to think about my experiences with the leasing offices over the phone, read through reviews and, my favorite hobby, use Google Maps several times to walk down the street. Luckily, I even secured up-close photos and videos of apartment floor plans to watch one too many times at my own leisure. This part of the virtual hunt was vital and the most important in leading me to sign my name on a lease.
Things might be different if you find the time to take a weekend and fly out to your soon-to-be home. But my biggest sentiment will always be to do what’s right for YOU! This is a legal contract and breaking leases or being unhappy for months on end is not a move. Understand what you want and need then seek it out. Ask questions, compare and get the apartment that fits your lifestyle.